It occurs to me that the monks of this order should have put a higher priority on placing lighting down in these caverns. The darkness is thick about the place. Torches make barely a dent in it and even my comrades with eyes adapted to the dark have difficulty telling where the walls of this place lie. They could be just barely out of the reach of our eyes or they could be hundreds of feet away. It is difficult to tell. This also means that it is potentially easy to get lost in the gloom and be unable to find the way back up.
I can somewhat understand the idea of walling off a dangerous influence but given the rivers and wells for much of the region it would seem these places are vital importance and thus definitely should be protected. I'm certain Hellenae could specifically denote an instance in history where some land was overrun because they failed to properly protect their water. At the very least, such a moment seems to be ongoing here. Though I suppose that might be due to the fact that there is not much in the way of a firm authority in these northlands.
Regardless, the unmarked paths among the confusing stalagmites and stalactites made the battle we faced that much more difficult. I can't speak much for the perspectives of my allies, but for my own I spent much of the battle in a consistent state of terror as these unwanted squatters in the monastery's basement continued to harass us.
The shrieks our attackers released cascaded back and forth through the vast cavern, making it difficult to place any particular source. We started off reasonably well, though the terror was already filling our bones and making us behave in irrational and reckless ways. There was something unnatural about the voices of those sounds. I am not one to be easily swayed by fear, nor are Dame TJ or the rest of my comrades, with the possible exception of that tiefling and yet he was one of the few able to keep his head in the midst of all these terrifying cries.
We thought perhaps that we would be able to finish the fight off quickly when we discovered two of the beasts and, between Miss Freehand and myself, managed to slay it handily. Though unfortunately, Miss Freehand strayed too close to my crackling sphere and it lashed it to shock her. Still, that matter was corrected for and while that tiefling and the warriors pressed toward what I think was the east, Miss Freehand, Miss Crest, Panry, and myself cornered the second.
That's where things started to go wrong. Khodrin roared out a challenge against the dark which was immediately followed by a warning from the tiefling. Unfortunately, it came but a fraction too late and the doughty dwarf was brought low by the fiend's attack. The very sight of it made the lingering terror in my thoughts flare up and I could not bring myself to even try to move closer.
From there we started to rally, thinking ourselves down to a single opponent and started to try to herd the thing away as we moved increasingly more rational ways as the terror started to fade in the face of what we felt was our enormous numerical advantage. Khodrin was treated swiftly and put back on his feet and we had started to pen it in and destroy it when more of the creatures appeared dropping from the tops of the stalagmites.
Dame TJ and Khodrin again were taken down, as was Nicola, and Lady Elanil was heavily pressed. Miss Crest and myself directed our respective spells into place against the foes her moonbeam incinerating some of the beasts before more of them, with fresh shrieks of terror-inducing noise dropped in the rear flanks we had thought secure and obliterated both Miss Crest and Panry while Nicola and our warriors were put back on their feet.
Miraculously, we were able to rescue both the bard and the druid after ending the threat from the first set of the creatures' reinforcements. Even more so, Crest was able to rouse herself from unconscious and aid in the effort of healing as we battled against terror and darkness in ending the threat of the last of these creatures.
I must admit that I came out of the battle rather better than most of my comrades. One of the creatures did strike me once, but my Shield spell and scales saved me from the bulk of the assault. In reality, however, it was simply luck as several of our compatriots had much more secure forms of protection and were torn to shreds.
With regard to this, I must certainly reiterate that the waters below these caverns must be better protected. We cannot allow such squatters as these creatures such a threshold in the future. They appear to be some sort of zealots that allowed themeselves to be mutated or made undead and had grotesque metal blades shoved into their arms so that they could not be separated from their weapons. They were clearly more intelligent than the zombies we had passed through earlier and I believe we are getting closer to the source of all this corruption and taint.
Despite the risk, we have decided to take a long-rest and recovering from the assault we just suffered. To minimize the risk, we retreated back to the door walling off the zombies and I used the glob of webbing I had earlier collected to set up a crude alarm system. Soon, we will press forward. Several of us have had epiphanies of one sort or another. I, myself, have had several thoughts myself regarding new applications for lightning and I have developed something of my own answer to the darkness and constant attacks.
I only hope that what we have obtained will be enough to tip the scales.